How to Mix Pillow Patterns Like A Pro

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Learn how to mix pillow patterns for your living room sofa with these designer tips. I’ll show you the simple formula for getting it right every time.

How to Mix Pillow Patterns Like A Pro

Are you looking to give your sofa a touch of style? Nothing beats the impact that new pillows make in creating a fresh look for any room, and when done well, mixing and matching patterns will give you a designer look.

In this blog post, I’ll explain how to mix and match patterns for bold results that still work together harmoniously. We’ll cover everything from choosing coordinating color schemes to deciding which sizes and shapes will be best suited for the desired effect. So keep reading if you’re ready to take on the challenge of adding personality with pattern play!


Let’s start with this simple formula to mix and match patterns like a pro! Then we will get into the specifics of what each part of the formula means and how you can translate that into specific patterns.

Formula = Large Scale Organic + Geometric + Texture + Small Scale

Another way to look at this formula is to pick a Floral + Stripe + Solid + Block Print

how to mix pillow patterns pink and green

Large Scale Organic

You want to start with that bold fabric that you fell in love with. It should have color (probably more than one or two) and a large pattern that takes up most of the face of the pillow.

To get an idea of these, do a quick search on Etsy for “designer pillows”. Some examples are fabric you will see will be from Thibaut, Schumacher, Kravet.


The next pattern you will mix in will be a geometric. This is a repeating pattern; it can be a stripe or windowpane/check, but doesn’t have to be perfectly in a line to fit this category.

The examples below are a good demonstration of this concept- they are in a line and repeating, but not a straight stripe.

how to mix pillow patterns


Adding in texture is a way to tone things down with a solid color that coordinates with the main fabric. Textures that will provide some variation are velvet, leather, nubby linen, a solid with fringe around the edges, or a contrasting color welt.

Small Scale

The last category for pattern mixing of pillows is to choose a fabric that has a smaller scale than the main pillow, but incorporates the same colors.

How it Works

Here are some tips on why this formula works and the how behind it:

  • Vary the Scale- choose a large scale pattern for your main pillow, opt for smaller patterns on the other pillows and a solid as well; you can do a thick stripe and a skinny stripe to mix things up
  • Mix Subject Matter- floral, landscape, chinoiserie scene, large abstract pattern
  • Carry One Color Throughout- take a color or two from your main pattern and repeat it in the other pillows to carry a common theme throughout
  • Use Designer Companion Fabrics- search for the companion fabrics from the same company that they have paired together which is like using a cheat sheet to find the perfect matching pattern
  • Add a Solid with an interesting texture- like velvet, nubby linen, or leather which helps tone it down since its solid
  • Use Different Backgrounds- choose fabrics that have slightly different backgrounds, a white, coordinating color, tone-on-tone

Coordinating COlors

how to mix pillow patterns3

Types of Patterns

When mixing and matching patterns, here are some options that you can search for when creating the perfect pillow pairing.

  • Floral
  • Scenery
  • Chinoiserie
  • Geometric
  • Stripe
  • Trellis
  • Ikat
  • Block Print
  • Palm/frond
  • Texture
  • Animal
  • Abstract
best pillow size for sofa


Once you have selected that perfect fabric for your sofa pillows, you want to make sure you have the correct sizing. In my world, bigger is better, so we start large and scale down as we go.

I tend to use 26×26 for a sectional because it is such a large piece of furniture. For a regular sofa, start with 24″x24″ pillows (with a 26″ insert for fluffiness) and layer in 22×22 pillows.

Examples of Pattern Mixing on Pillows

Now that you have the pattern mixing down for your sofa pillows, here are 12 examples of perfectly paired pillows that have common color, varied texture, and a bold pattern to set the tone.

How to Mix and Match Pillows for your living room sofa
How to Mix and Match Pillows
How to Mix and Match Pillows floral

My Favorite Etsy Shops for Pillow Covers

All of these pillows in the above arrangements can be purchased on Etsy. It’s my favorite place to go for high quality, well sized sofa pillows.

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